The Evolution of the Golf Swing
Most acquired skills take time and practice … and then the technique evolves. Golf is no exception. As Hogan said in his famous book “The Five Fundamentals”, most natural ways to hit a golf ball are wrong.
The two typical ways to hit a golf ball are to scoop it up in the air … and to beat down on it like killing a snake. Neither way is very successful or consistently successful.
Control is needed for the short shots and power is needed for long shots. Firm wrists are the key to controlling the short shots. And looser arms and rotating wrists are the key to longer shots.
Most people slice because of the two methods mentioned earlier. The scooped shot opens up the clubface and sends the ball right of the target. Iron shots won’t slice much – especially short irons – because the loft of the club counteracts the slice side-spin. Low lofted clubs – especially the driver – will really slice because there is not enough loft to counteract the side spin put on the ball. Usually by swinging hard, the player comes over-the-top and cuts across the ball with an open clubface … a perfect recipe for a big slice.
So, golfers have to learn to close the clubface with a counter clockwise wrist/hand action to overcome slicing the ball. Then, when confident the ball won’t slice, they can swing right of the target and draw the ball back in.
Hopefully this technique will last the rest of their golfing days. But, that draw can turn into a hook – especially as the golfer gets older and doesn’t have strong enough leg action to counter balance the strong hand/wrist action.
Many Tour players develop an anti-hook swing … not because of weak legs … but just because they want even more control of the golf ball. Thus the power fade.
But – the power fade is a bad model for golfers who have not progressed to the draw/hook phase of the golf swing. Many Tour players’ swings are not good models for most golfers. And many books and videos are not good for the golfer who hasn’t learned to draw/hook the ball.
You know those drawings of Darwin’s evolutionary model of human beings evolving from creatures in the sea? We need a drawing of the steps of an evolving golf swing … from scooping all the way up to Hogan’s power fade.
GM and Head Golf Professional